Thursday, 15 May 2014

When you are ill - know who to turn to

If you were ill, would you know who to turn to? NHS Ayrshire & Arran is encouraging us to choose the right option for our condition.

The 'When you're ill, know who to turn to' campaign outlines the eight options available when we need medical assistance, alongside a list of symptoms that could be appropriately dealt with by each option. These include:

• Self care: for minor illness or injury that we can deal with ourselves, such as hangover, grazed knee, sore throat, coughs and colds
• Pharmacist: for expert advice or information on medicines and healthcare, including the Minor Ailment Service. Examples of minor ailments include coughs and colds, indigestion, constipation, aches and pains
• Dentist: for regular check-ups, routine treatment and emergency care
• Optometrist (optician): for any eye problems including blurred vision, difficulty seeing well or discomfort - red eyes, irritated eyes
• Family doctor: when our illness or injury just won't go away, we should make an appointment to see our GP who can provide advice and information about conditions such as vomiting, ear pain, sore belly, backache
• NHS out-of-hours service: we should turn to the NHS out of hours service when we are too ill to wait until our GP or dental surgery is open. Call NHS 24 on 111.
• Minor injuries service: if we require urgent care for a minor injury such as cuts, minor burns, sprains
• Accident and emergency: Turn to 999 or a hospital's A&E department only for serious illness or accidents, such as suspected stroke, heart attack, head injuries, fracture or wounds requiring stitches.

Liz Moore, NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Director for Acute Services, explained, “All too often we see people coming into Accident and Emergency when they would have been better using one of their local services, such as their pharmacist, GP or dentist. Knowing which NHS service to use, and when, is extremely important both in terms of patient care and the running of the NHS.

“Choosing the wrong service can lead to delays, patient frustration and inefficiencies. Choosing the right service can lead to better patient satisfaction and a speedier recovery.”

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